Voices from Russia

Thursday, 31 October 2013

31 October 2013. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… “Zombie Walk” in Novosibirsk

00 Zombie Walk in Novosibirsk. 31.10.13


The above image is from the “Zombie Walk” in Novosibirsk. Some are trying to shut down the holiday, but they’re not getting mass support, even from the Church. The most that Vsevolod Chaplin would say was that kids shouldn’t be dabbling in the occult, which is correct and that he thinks that it could lead to sickness (also correct… there’s been no statement from HH). There’s Halloween and there’s “Black Masses“… they’re not the same thing. One is harmless, the other is harmful in the extreme. Show some perspective, people…

Click here… it sounds ominous, but the only citation in the Russian press I could find was a short item on Interfax, and there was no material posted on patriarchia.ru from or about Fr Vsevolod at all. The Washington Times is a crank source… they’ve made up things before and are wont to print the most vile lies against Russia (they print all kinds of Langley provocations). I’d only put credence in this if I could find an original Russian source… and I couldn’t find one. As a counterpoise, click here for VOR‘s piece on Halloween… and VOR is a legit source (it’s a Russian government-run operation… and a good one at that).

Keep it focused… your soul does depend on it. Zealotry dims your vision… never forget that. Also, don’t forget that Orthodoxy is the freest of the Christian confessions… the only things that the Church absolutely insists upon are in the Creed. There’s a great deal of leeway… on Halloween, I disagree with Fr Vsevolod, but I agree with him usually, after all, he’s one of the “white hats“.



Church Near 9/11 Site to Echo Landmarks of East

00 Architectural Rendering. St Nicholas Greek Orthodox. NYC. 31.10.13


00 NY Times Infographic. Location of St George Greek Orthodox Church. New York NY. 31.10.13


St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Destroyed on 9/11, to Rebuild With Byzantine Design

A gleaming, monumental, and unmistakable symbol of Orthodox Christianity shall rise at the south end of the National 9/11 Memorial under plans drawn up for the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. On 11 September 2001, the South Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) crushed the original St Nicholas Church when it collapsed. Plans to replace it on the grounds of the new WTC, across Liberty Street from the memorial, have sputteredstopped, and crept ahead in the intervening years. However, no images of the new church were available… until now. Eight images published recently on architect Santiago Calatrava’s website, the designer of the new St Nicholas, showed a building that drew inspiration from great churches of the East… Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, both of which were in the old imperial capital of Constantinople (now, Istanbul). The shallow dome of the new St Nicholas Church will have 40 ribs, as does the dome of Hagia Sophia. Alternating bands of stone on the corners will echo the walls of the Chora church. Although both date to the early centuries of Christianity, later, both saw use as mosques before becoming museums. Whilst that ecumenical provenance may accurately reflect the stated desire of the Greek Orthodox Church to create a space in which all visitors would feel welcome, it’ll almost certainly ignite a new round of debate over the role of religion at or around the WTC. In 2010, national attention focused on a bitter fight over an Islamic community centre and mosque proposed nearby.

Mr Calatrava, the architect of the WTC Transportation Hub, is known for his expressive designs and, sometimes, projects with impressive cost overruns. Certainly, his St Nicholas, which will include a nondenominational mourning centre, will look nothing like the modest old parish church that it’s replacing. That was in a decrepit 19th-century tavern at 155 Cedar Street with a little rooftop bell cote and cross to announce its purpose. The new church will occupy the corner of an L-shape block bounded on the north by Liberty Street and on the east by Greenwich Street. Already, a large bulkhead under construction over entrance ramps to a vehicle security centre beneath the WTC takes up much of this block. The church and a landscaped open space known as Liberty Park would sit atop this bulkhead, a little more than 20 feet above street level. That a Spanish architect should design a modern Byzantine church in Lower Manhattan for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, based on buildings in Turkey that were used for Islamic worship, goes to the heart of the message the archdiocese says it hopes to send with the $20 million project. The new St Nicholas is to open by early 2016.

Fr Mark Arey, a spokesman for the GOAA, said, “If I may quote Jesus, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people’. It’ll be open to everyone… the believer, the unbeliever, the Orthodox Christian, the atheist. Whoever you are, this is a space that you can come into and find some meditative solace”. However, in the near term, meditative solace might be elusive. In 2011, the American Atheists, a non-profit group, filed a lawsuit to prevent the inclusion of a cross-shape steel beam from the wreckage of the original WTC in the memorial museum on the site. A court dismissed the suit in March. A year earlier, plans to create an Islamic community centre and mosque on Park Place, two blocks north of the WTC site, attracted furious criticism. Mayor Michael Bloomberg emerged as a forceful defender of the proposal, citing the constitutional protection of worship. Fr Arey recalled that Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, the First Hierarch of the GOAA, had stood with the mayor, saying, “We always defended their right to build a mosque on Park Place. We were proud to be with the mayor that day. It was the right thing to do. It was the spiritual thing to do. It was the American thing to do”. Whilst the building recently served as a prayer space, the full centre hasn’t been built.

Comments on the TriBeCa Citizen website, which published the renderings, show that some viewers already say that St Nicholas resembles a mosque. On Tuesday, the New York Post noted the presence of the drawings on Mr Calatrava’s website. Fr Arey said that he’d welcome the dialogue ahead, “The dome, invented by the Mycenaean Greeks, was a Christian form of architecture that was borrowed by the Islamic world. There are going to be some wonderful teachable moments down the road”. The GOAA chose Mr Calatrava after an invitation-only competition with 12 other architectural firms. Fr Arey said that his design has a “certain gravitas. I believe he’s achieved mass without volume”. By that, he meant that the church, which is only 65 feet tall from its floor to the tip of the cross on the dome, conveys the sense of having a substantive presence. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the redevelopment of the WTC site, shall lease the church site for 99 years to the GOAA, based in New York City. In exchange, the church relinquished the 155 Cedar Street site to accommodate the authority’s building plans.

30 October 2013

David W Dunlap

New York Times



Parishioners Find Miracle After Fire at Ukrainian Orthodox Church

00 Ukrainian Orthodox fire. Philadelphia PA USA. 31.10.13


Parishioners of a Philadelphia Ukrainian Orthodox church say that the four-alarm fire that destroyed millions of dollars in furniture and artefacts and left a gaping hole in the centre of the historic building also revealed a miracle. Pasha Prasko, St Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church treasurer and parishioner, said, “The fire was blazing, so when we saw the fire, we thought everything burned, but now that we can see inside, we looked at it and said it’s amazing so many icons are still there”. Although a large portion of the church’s roof collapsed and more than 100 firefighters doused the building in water to tame the blaze, several icons remained untouched by the flames at the historic house of worship in the East Oak Lane section of the city on Sunday. Prasko said, “It’s a holy place, you know, and it’s just not damaged the way we thought it would be. We even talked about it yesterday and said it’d be a miracle if her icon would be saved; and, here it is, saved. I think it’s a miracle”.

According to local historian Marita Krivda Poxon, Ukrainian Orthodox consider St Mary the Protectress the protector of all Ukrainian people. From the front door of the burned building, one could see a large painting of the Protectress and several other artefacts in what appeared to be good condition. Poxon said, “The church has a large icon, and in the centre of it is the Saint Mary the Protectress herself. Apparently, she was the saint in the Ukraine that protected the people of the country of the Ukraine. I think it’s a miracle that a few of the icons survived because they are mostly made of wood. I could only say that, for believers, they’ll believe that it miraculously survived the fire; I mean, the church burned, but her icon survived, and the congregation will survive. That’s what it means to me”.

Philadelphia Firefighter Arthur Davis said he’s never seen anything like it before, saying, “Not one of those pictures caught on fire; not the ones on the wall, not the ones on the stage, not one of them was damaged. What happened was it started on the roof, the fire. But it’s still amazing that with the collapse and all, this stuff isn’t burned. They could take it right off the wall; a lot of the pictures are still on the wall, the glass isn’t broken or nothing. When it comes to fires, I’ve seen it all, but I’ve never seen nothing like this before”. At one point, 125 firefighters and 33 engines were on the scene trying to get the fire under control. Officials still don’t know what caused the fire, but they believe that it was an electrical fault.

Fr Taras Naumenko, pastor of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on 5th and Independence Street, says his parish would support St Mary’s members as its leaders work to determine a plan forward, noting, “Their congregation will be holding their services at my parish until they figure out their future”. When asked what he thinks the future could hold for St Mary’s, he said, “I think it’s too soon to even think about what their future will be”. John Prasko is chairman of the parish board. He says the church is considering starting a fund to raise money, but says he’s still unsure of any exact plans for rebuilding, saying, “Tomorrow, we’ll have a meeting with the board to see what we’ll do. At that time, we’ll have to make several decisions about moving and rebuilding, but I don’t know exactly what they’ll be yet”. Poxon says any attempt to rebuild would be difficult because of the historic elements of the church, noting, “The interior could never be rebuilt the way it was. My hope is that they don’t tear it down, that they don’t bulldoze it, and, somehow, portions of it can be salvaged and rebuilt because it’s a beautiful building. There are just so few stone masons that could even do the work to rebuild here”. This afternoon, firefighters were still on the scene removing debris from the premises. Davis said that they’d allow church leaders to enter the building to retrieve artefacts and mementos sometime this evening.

28 October 2013

NBC 10 Philadelphia


Editor’s Note:

These guys may have goofy politics, and they’re soft on (and collaborate overly much with) Uniates, but they’re still part of the Orthosphere (whether they want to be or not). Send ‘em a fin or two, if you can. Here’s the contact info:

Telephone: (215) 424-9692

You can also try the folks at St Vladimir Cathedral, they could steer you right. Click here for their contact page.

Give ‘em a hand. They need it. You don’t ask what someone’s ideology is when something like this happens. Either we’re all Orthodox or none of us are Orthodox. ‘Nuff said!


Forbes Named Putin Most Powerful Person in World

00 Vova's STILL the One. Vladimir Putin. 14.09


On Wednesday, Forbes named President Vladimir Putin the most powerful person on the planet, knocking US President Barack Obama off the number one spot. Forbes said that Putin, who ranked third last year, showed his dominance in diplomatic manoeuvring during the international crisis over Syria, and in granting asylum in Russia to fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, noting, “Putin solidified his control over Russia (‘dictator’ is no longer an outlandish word to ponder) and the global stage”. Forbes gave the top spot to Obama every year since it began compiling the ranking in 2009, except in 2010 when it deemed former Chinese President Hu Jintao the most influential. This isn’t the first time Putin, who returned to the Russian presidency last year for a third term ending in 2018, received such an accolade. A similar survey released by Foreign Policy in January also proclaimed Putin as the most powerful person in the world. Three other Russians also made it onto the list, which included 72 people. Forbes placed Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev in 53rd place, and Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov, in 63rd place. Igor Sechin, head of state oil giant Rosneft appeared on the list for the first time in 60th place.

31 October 2013



Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.